Tag Archives: red

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

27 Nov

This photo is of something I was not expecting. During my recent trip to Rwanda, this gorgeous leaf formation caught my eye. I had never seen anything quite like it. It was a striking burst of color on an otherwise fairly bare branch. When I asked someone what it was, I was surprised to discover that it was a poinsettia, and that poinsettias can grow into small trees up to about 10 feet in height. I had no idea, because to my untrained eye this looks nothing like the potted poinsettias that abound at Christmastime (except perhaps for the red leaves). I’ll take the tree!

So an unexpected encounter led to an unexpected discovery — and I couldn’t be more delighted. The red leaves are called brachts; the actual poinsettia flowers are tiny and yellow.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

17 Nov

This week’s theme is “layers,” and of course, my thoughts turned to food–and specifically to onions, whose layers have been the subject of many quotes, mostly about hidden depths and weeping. In my case, I’d be weeping if I didn’t have any onions around. I realize it is probably quite shallow to only think of my stomach in lieu of other, more profound (or perhaps more pungent) observations about this revered member of the allium genus.

But here’s something. The red onion I cut open today had a particularly striking and almost glowing yellow core, so Cyrano de Bergerac’s philosophical musings struck a chord: “And in the Onion, the Germ is the little Sun of that little World, which vivifies and nourishes the vegetative Salt of that little mass.” As the onion itself adds life to so many dishes. I can’t imagine my kitchen without it.

Fall Colors

24 Oct

It’s that time of year–a time where I am loath to leave the warmth of my bed in the dark and chill of the morning, a coat is becoming a necessity, and the thermostat beckons. It is fall. But this crispness in the air brings with it a relief from the hot, muggy, dog days of summer and, even better, it brings vivid autumnal colors.

Here are some photos from a recent walk around my neighborhood and Rock Creek Park.

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns

22 Sep

Most days, as I walk to the metro and then to my office, or repeat the process in reverse, I don’t think to look upward. The route holds very few surprises any more and I am often lost in thought, mentally cataloging what needs to be done at work, or what can be turned into dinner when I get home. But when I travel, or even when I walk somewhere new in my own neighborhood, I look up more. Delightful discoveries can be found above.

This is one of them–a ceiling in Canterbury Cathedral in England. The lines and patterns here are a sight to behold; the thought and effort that must have gone into creating this visual feast is mind boggling. Photo is in soft focus.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

16 Sep

How to picture the inside of something? I first thought of showing the inside of a flower, but I just did that. Various family members offered to open their mouths so I could take a nice photo of their uvulas, but I felt I could surely find something slightly more appealing…. A fruit? A vegetable? I found a tomato outside that had fallen to the ground, with a beautiful hole bored right into the top. If I squinted at just the right angle, I could see all the way inside the tomato.  Unfortunately, my camera was not able to replicate the same feat (did I mention I wish I had a macro lens?). So I turned to the time-honored tradition of rummaging through the refrigerator. And there, in all its glory, was half of a red bell pepper.  I took it outside (ignoring the raised eyebrows of family members who were convinced I had finally gone off the deep end), balanced it on my lap, and took a photo of its insides.

Photo of the Month: May 2013 (Poppy Bud)

31 May

Red Poppy Bud, unfurling
Montpellier, France: Jardin des Plantes

Recipe: Roasted and Marinated Bell Peppers

21 Apr

Fresh from my trip to Italy and with lots to do to get ready for the work week, I decided to prepare a Mediterranean antipasti-tapas-mezze meal made up of little dishes, simple ingredients, and nice bread. These Roasted and Marinated Bell Peppers are part of that meal, and they can be made ahead — they get better the longer they marinate. You can use all red peppers, or any combination of red, yellow, or orange that suits your fancy. In this case, I used one of each color.  I forgot the parsley before taking the photo, but will try to remember to sprinkle some on top before serving! With or without parsley, this is a nice addition to any Mediterranean multi-dish meal.

Roasted and Marinated Bell Peppers

3 large red, yellow, or orange (or combination) bell peppers
1/4 c. olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. paprika
1 spring onion, sliced
5-6 leaves fresh basil
2 tsp. coarsely chopped parsley

Preparation

1. Turn on broiler.
2. Cut peppers into quarters; remove all seeds and membrane. Place peppers on baking sheet, skin-side up.

2. Broil until skin blackens, then put peppers into container with lid, cover tightly, and let cool.

3. When cool, carefully peel the skin off the peppers, and cut peppers diagonally into thin slices.

4. Add the remaining ingredients to the peppers, stir to combine, and marinate for at least 3 hours (or overnight) before serving.

Adapted from the Australian Family Circle Tapas booklet.

Bursting Forth: Red Maple

18 Mar

Two weekends ago, I included a photo of tiny, closed, jewel-like maple buds in a post called Ready for Spring.  I recognized the neighborhood tree as a maple, but wasn’t sure what kind of maple it was. The answer was staring me in the face the whole time.  It is a red maple (Acer rubrum), which makes perfect sense given the color of the buds…. I’ve since stopped by that same tree a couple of times to see if the buds had started to open. This past weekend, they did — and I was reminded that beautiful things can come in very small packages.

 

Witch Hazel

9 Mar

Until today, I knew next to nothing about Witch Hazel. I had a vague idea it could be found in a bottle at the pharmacy, but thought of it as something from a bygone era, like cod liver oil. Not that it didn’t have its uses –I just wasn’t sure what those uses were….

But an absolutely glorious day propelled me to nearby Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland to see what might be of interest there. Turns out, there was a great deal of interest, not the least of which was Witch Hazel (Hamamelis). As I came around a bend I noticed a tree (ok, technically a very large shrub) with the most delicate, spidery looking flowers on it. It was striking not only because it was in bloom, but because the flowers were almost ethereal. I bent to read the sign beneath and learned it was a Witch Hazel, something I had not see before. But once I saw that one, I noticed many others, in different colors, all equally stunning. I immediately experienced garden envy. Or perhaps garden regret–there is only so much I can pack into my own small garden, and Witch Hazel will just have to be admired from afar.

Below are a few photos of a remarkable plant, the extract of which helps control blemishes, soothe burns (including sunburns and razor burns) and cuts and bruises, relieve insect bites and itchy poison ivy/poison oak, and relieve tired eyes. Now that I know this, I will certainly get some extract from the pharmacy in the near future, but for now I will feast my eyes on the lovely Witch Hazel flowers and feel glad that I learned something new today.


‘Diane’


‘Diane’


‘Orange Peel’


‘Moonlight’

Ready for Spring

3 Mar

It is cold, windy, and grey here in the Mid-Atlantic United States, and I am ready for color and warmth. Where is spring? In my own yard, there a few small signs: tender shoots emerging from the ground, buds on trees, and increased bird activity. And though nothing has yet bloomed, I was encouraged today when I saw a few promising indicators from around the neighborhood, including a lone daffodil in flower. Here’s hoping my garden will not be too far behind.


Daffodils


Maple Buds


Magnolia Buds